The Cost Efficiency of Chiropractic Care vs. Medical Care
Traditional medicine and chiropractic care approach treatment from different angles. Medical care tends to diagnose and treat symptoms, while chiropractic care aims for treating the underlying cause of those same symptoms. But which is more cost effective?
Care from a typical medical clinic includes starts with an overview of symptoms and a diagnosis based on those symptoms. From there, either a medication, procedure, or surgery are prescribed to treat the determined illness. Even with insurance, there are copays and deductibles that must be met. In addition, you’ll pay for at least a portion of the diagnostic tests required. More costs are added if new medications must be prescribed to deal with side effects, or if referral to a specialist is necessary.
Because the root cause of the issue isn’t always addressed, symptoms can and do frequently reoccur, and continued care is necessary to manage the symptoms. With degenerative conditions, it’s often a matter of time before more serious intervention in the form of a procedure or major surgery is required.
Care from a chiropractic facility is typically more holistic in nature. Symptoms and some diagnostic tools are used to determine a diagnosis, but the chiropractic practitioner looks further to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms. Several visits may be necessary if muscular-skeletal manipulation is needed, but by getting to the heart of the issue, extended care can become unnecessary once the body has healed to the point that it no longer displays symptoms of ill health. Good chiropractic practice limits the number of visits to what is actually needed for the patient.
A study published in April 2011 in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine took a look at the effectiveness of treatments for work-related low back pain and the re-occurrence of disability. It found that chiropractic care is more effective than physical therapy or a physician’s care for these types of injuries, with shorter initial disability periods, fewer re-occurrences, and lower medical expenses. Spinal manipulation isn’t just good for back pain, either. Headaches and even allergy symptoms can be relieved through neck or upper back manipulation. And chiropractors can often recommend natural supplements that work with the body instead of against it, resulting in fewer side effects and better quality of life.
That’s not to say that traditional medical care doesn’t have a place in treatment. Modern chiropractics and modern medicine can and do go hand in hand. An October 2012 study in the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology reviewed the cost effectiveness of spinal pain management. It found that Spinal Manipulation Therapy (SMT) was more cost effective both alone and in conjunction with other treatments when compared to general practitioner care, physical therapy, or exercise.
Cost-Effective Chiropractic Care
Whether alone or combined with another type of care, chiropractic care can lower your costs: the cost to your health, the cost of your recovery time, and the monetary cost.